In honor of that recently passed candy hearts & hallmark cards holiday, I wanted to talk about something a little more relevant to me. The places that we fall in love with, and how we remember our travels. I thought I’d go out on a limb and reach out to some of my favorite travel bloggers to see what places have hit them in the gut and made them fall head over heels. A few actually got back to me, amazing people that they are – even though my website wasn’t even up yet!
But first, I can tell you two of the places that I personally fell in love with. China and India. I think I fell in love with the countries because they were so far out of my comfort zone. In India, it was the colors that pulled me in; there were so many colors. I was in Mysore in the South, and the city market is known for having watercolor powder. Between the watercolor powders, the saris (and salwar) and the landscape I was smitten.
With China, it was a little bit more of a romance. Living in the country for a year, I fell in love with the people and their hospitality. I fell in love with everything that was different and yet still the same. And the food. I really fell in love with the food. From the spice of Sichuan cuisine to the local seafood, I miss real Chinese food so much even now.
But how do I remember these places? Along with a few clothes and some art, I keep tattoos for the places that have made an impact on me. Yes. Tattoos. I have a lotus on my neck for India and 茄子 on my back for China (and props to anyone who gets the joke).
The lovely folks I had the chance to chat with are Candice Walsh from Candice Does the World, Drew Meyers from OhHeyWorld, and Stephanie Yoder of Twenty Something Travel (plus some input from her fiancee, Michael of Art of Backpacking). Here are their thoughts!
What places did you fall in love with?
Candice: I fell SUPER hard for Cape Breton a few years ago, which is odd, because it’s so close to home and I had just wrapped up a bunch of travel. But I had gotten laid off from my job and was kinda tramping around in a lost state feeling sorry for myself, and Cape Breton just ended up being the kind of sanctuary I needed to get over my woes. Rocky coastlines, fishing villages, unreal hiking paths, the Highlands…I only spent like two days there, and I’m still dying to go back.
Drew: Santorini and Kenya. Santorini because I spent the best summer of my life living there with 4 close friends (2010). Kenya because, well, Kenya (& Africa in general) is surreal and it’s like nothing I had every experienced before.
Steph: The places I love most are places with really awesome locals who go out of their way to welcome you and show you their culture. Places like Colombia, Bosnia and Vietnam come to mind. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these are all places that have had a hard time in the past half century. I love seeing the resilience of people who don’t let tragedy obscure their humanity.
How do you remember your favorite places?
C: Shot glasses. You can’t go wrong with shot glasses.
D: Pictures. The great places are remembered with stories that pictures can’t even explain. I don’t buy anything while I travel. I used to collect shotglasses when I was young, but my collection grew too quickly and, given I lived out of a backpack from 2010-2012, I didn’t want to carry any souvenirs around with me.
S:I don’t do it so much anymore, but I used to collect bookmarks from many of the different places I’ve visited. I love to read so it’s a great small way to remind myself of where I’ve been.